Breanna Stewart named MVP as Seattle Storm beat Connecticut Sun in WNBA's inaugural Commissioner's Cup

PHOENIX -- Seattle Storm's star Breanna Stewart got up from the dais just before she began to turn on the computer for media's videoconference calls.Although the computer may have been asleep, Stewart was awake five days after he won a gold medal at Tokyo Olympics.She did everything she could Thursday at the WNBA's inaugural Commissioner's Cup in Phoenix. Stewart scored 17 points, including 15 in quarter one, to help the Storm win 79-57 against the Connecticut Sun. This was the league's first midseason championship in its 25-year history. Stewart was awarded the Cup's MVP. This caps a hectic week that saw her add two more trophies to her impressive collection, including the Olympic gold medal, and the Euroleague title.Storm guard Jewell Loyd stated that it looked like high school. It's almost normal. It's insane, but it's normal. It's Stewie.Stewart, Loyd and fellow Olympian Sue Bird didn't seem to be bothered by the 5,500-mile flight that they took earlier in week. Each player played for at least 18 minutes. Noelle Quinn, Storm coach, didn't set any time limits for her Olympians before they went into the game. It didn't matter how long it took to win.Bird stated, "Feel pretty great." Bird said, "We won, and our team played well. It was great to be back with Storm."We discussed this before the game but we clearly are here to win. It was going to be whatever the time allowed to win the game. We did well in the fourth quarter and didn't need to stay there as much, which I believe was a good thing. That worked out great.How can you avoid jet lag and be part of the Storm's Olympic team?Bird stated, "A lot champagne."Because the Commissioner's Cup was a championship match, Storm considered it a championship game. The Eastern and Western conference's top teams were represented in the game, which was decided after 60 intraconference matches during the first half.Stewart stated that getting off to a strong start -- Stewart was 5-for-6 from field and 3-for-3 at 3 in the first half -- was critical in setting the tone for a championship-caliber match.She said, "I believe that, despite all the jet-lag and stuff this week, once we got through warm-up, it became a regular program, I would think." "We were just being aggressive. We understood the game and wanted to hit them first.It was a huge payday for Storm.Each Storm member received a $30,000 bonus, while Stewart was awarded an additional $5,000. Each Sun participant received $10,000.Bird stated that the importance of the prize money was not overlooked in the first half-season.Bird stated that "I believe we were one -- from what I've seen in the comments of other teams about the Commissioner's Cup during the season, it seems like we were one the few teams that, right from the start, we're like, 'Oh! This is a Commissioner's Cup' and that every time we won, there'd be a lot of talk afterwards about it like, "Commissioner's Cup," one step closer towards that money. It was something we talked about all year.Bird, Loyd, and Stewart (and most of the other WNBA players from overseas) have had midseason games with prize money. These three players were able to share their experience with other Storm teammates.Stewart added: "I believe our teammates were the motivating factor behind that game. We wanted to win. While 30K is 30K to us all, for some of them it's 30K. But for Kiana Williams, I don’t know the ratio, but it’s a lot. It's amazing to help them achieve that.The WNBA is the only major American league that has a midseason champion, much like international soccer and basketball.Bird, a vice-president of the WNBPA, stated that the Commissioner's Cup could serve as a benchmark event for the WNBA in the future. It's an event that is not controlled by the teams and can be planned ahead of time so fans always know where and when it will take place.Bird stated, "It gives me something that the WNBA sometimes has lacked is its stage at times." It's easy to get lost in the different aspects of our season, like the Finals. It's not always our time."I think it gets us excited as players. I mentioned those bonus games abroad. Before those games, we all knew that there was a 10K bonus on this one. It was something you knew and you discussed it. This gives you an edge in what you do as you prepare."However, Thursday was not without its hiccups.Stewart realized that the correct shoe was not her size before the game. Stewart finally got the right size and bought a new pair.She said that "they" worked out perfectly.